Q & A: Andre Johnson catches up with Geeter Middle football coach Kevin Patterson

Get ready, Memphis.

Get ready, TSSAA.

Get ready, Shelby County high school football fans. Kevin Patterson, the 29-year-old head coach for Geeter Middle School is, according to his peers and veteran head coaches throughout the Mid-South, the best kept secret on the football-coaching sidelines in the Shelby Metro area. To his credit, Patterson took the Geeter program from years of futility to a team that advanced to this year’s City Championship. In fact, that high-octane Dragons made so much noise this year at the middle school ranks is a microcosm of how successful Patterson’s program will be in the coming years. So get ready, Memphis. Patterson undoubtedly will be the next best thing on the high school football ranks in the Mid-South in the coming years. In the wake of his rapid success, Patterson recently spoke with MemphiSport senior writer Andre Johnson on the 2014 season.

GeeterMainANDRE: What is your full name?

KEVIN: Kevin Patterson Jr.

ANDRE: What is your age?

KEVIN: I’m 29 years old.Geeter1

ANDRE: Where are you originally from?

KEVIN: I’m originally from Memphis, Tennessee

ANDRE: Where did you play high school/college football?

KEVIN: I played football at Fairley High School in Memphis Tennessee under Coach Ike White Jr.

ANDRE: Coach, in your own words, how would you access the overall season?

Geeter5KEVIN: The overall season was a phenomenal season. The team believed in the coaches and their teammates.The season had its ups and downs but our true test was during the playoffs. We beat Oakhaven middle the first game 12-8 and the second round playoff game we defeated Sherwood Middle 20-16 in the last 10 seconds of the game to be able to compete for the city championship. There was great support from the parents, teachers, community , administration throughout the whole season. We were victorious on and off the field. This is just a stepping stone to help us to continue building Student Athletes.

ANDRE: When did you go into coaching?
KEVIN: I have been coaching about 6 years now

ANDRE: What do you like most about coaching?

KEVIN: I love that I am able to help inner – city young men develop their gift as a student athlete.

ANDRE: Brief me on your coaching background? Geeter5

KEVIN:In 2009 I started out just watching and learning from Coach Nathan Cole at Mitchell High School. I later left Mitchell and began coaching at Hamilton Middle as the Offensive Cooridnator under Head Coach Ed Slaughter for two years and then under head coach Antonio Avant for one you before leaving to take the head coaching position at Geeter Middle School. I have always had a passion for coaching and every chance I get I try to glean any advice from very prominent head coaches in Memphis such as Rahmann Slocum, Nate Cole, Decorye Hampton, Rodney Saulsberry,Antonio Avant, Wayne Chalmers, Thurston Rubin, Teli White, Carl Coleman, Rodricel “Mudd” Williams and the list goes on. So you can say I love to build relationships.

ANDRE: When did you inherit the Geeter football program?

KEVIN: I inherited the football program at Geeter on July 15, 2013

ANDRE: Describe how the program was when you took over?

KEVIN: Wow!!!!! When I took over the program it was in its low stages. The morale was down and the school hadn’t had a winning season from what I was told in over 10 years. It seemed as if the kids were not interested in football at Geeter because the program had not been winning. So the kids would go to other schools such as Lanier, Havenview, And John P. Freeman. I literally had to drive around the neighborhood looking for the students that went to Geeter and try to see who was interested in the program and that changes were going to be made. In other words I had to sell the product and that was the revitalization of the football program at Geeter Middle School. People still didn’t believe so we had to make a statement quick with only two weeks in between the time I was given the job and the first regular season game. But there was a major stumbling block. When I did inventory of the equipment I couldn’t do anything but shake my head. The school had 30 Schutt helmets that were in good condition but there were no uniforms. There were literally jerseys that had numbers falling off of them, only 13 jerseys, too big jerseys, I must say it was very frustrating and myself and the assistant coach at the time Clarence Marshall had to think quick. There was not money for uniforms because the footnall program had not generated much money. So we solicited donations from churches, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders. But one day we got a major blessing. Our principal Lori Oduyoye once taught Thaddeus Young (Minnesota Timberwolves) at Mitchell High School and she gave him a call asking for support. After the conversation, Thaddues out of the kindness of his heart purchased us two sets of jerseys, a set of pants, girdles and other football accessories. It was a huge relief and a new era to the Geeter Middle School Football program. I believe if you look good, you play good.

ANDRE: What changes did you make?

Geeter2KEVIN: I literally had to change the culture of the football program. I had to get a coaching staff to help with the building of the program. I had to teach discipline in which some young men lacked, I had to push the boys to trust in their gift and never give up. I had to change the morale of the football team. Myself along with the coaching staff had to sell ourselves to the team to let them know that they could trust us and that we were dedicated to change the look of the program. Also I had to make sure that they knew that academics is more important than football, and in order to maintain a member of the football team their grades would have to remain in good standings.

ANDRE: How far as the program come under your leadership?

KEVIN: In previous years the team numbers were low and in my first year we had about 27 young men and currently we have 33 young men on roster. My first year we had a 6-2 record and made it to the first round playoffs for the first time in over 10 years. It was a great look for the building of the football program at Geeter. We knew that we had to keep building so we had spring work outs and summer workouts to prepare to be better in the 2014 football season. We set goals in which we are constantly achieving week by week. Currently we are 5-0 with two games left in the season against Munford Middle School, and John P. Freeman Middle School as we prepare for the 2014 playoffs. So it has been a joy to see the rebirth of the football program at Geeter. Notice we don’t call it a football team but we call it a football program because we are preparing our young men for the next level of football.

ANDRE: How beneficial has your coaching staff been?

KEVIN: Oh Wow! My coaching staff I feel is the greatest coaching staff in Middle School football. These guys are literally dedicated to these young men. My coaches have literally been through things in which they are able to relate to these young men and mentor these boys on a daily basis. My coaches are very faithful, I mean they are all volunteer coaches but these coaches are at practice early and don’t mind staying late to perfect whatever we are working on that day. A lot of peple criticize the coaching staff because they feel as if I don’t need to have 7 coaches on a middle school staff. I know I cant do it by myself so I wat to give these young men the adequate help by having coaches who have played the game and know exactly what they are teaching the athletes. I feel we are a close coaching staffs we have meeting, fellowships, and etc as if we were coaching on a high school level and that’s how devoted were are to maintain a top notch football program at Geeter. I want the biys to be the best they can be and I will only give them the best coaches to help them.

ANDRE: Do you boasts aspirations of coaching high school football?

KEVIN: I don’t think it’s a day that goes by that I don’t think about the opportunity to coach on the high school level. If I was able to coach on the high school level, I would accept and take the coaching staff that assist me now with me so that we can help young men on the next level to be better.

ANDRE: Why is the sky’s the limit for you as a coach?

KEVIN: I simply understand and envision football as more than a sport. I see it as a avenue to be a role model and mentor to these iner city athletes. I see that they have so much potential and I feel that I can along with the coaching staff can be the catalyst to help them reach their maximum potential as an athlete. I have watched coach like Nate Cole and Rahman Slocum take young men under their wings and help them become better young men and that is the same desire that I have, to help these athletes become great young men through sports and academics. I am grateful for the administration, faculty, staff and parents of Geeter Middle School for entrusting me with these young men. But lastly the greatest coaching staff a coach can ask for.

Kevin Patterson Jr – Head Coach

Michael Mosby – Assistant Coach/ Quarterback Coach

Ronald Monger – Defensive Coordinator/ Wide Receiver Coach

Montrell Cox – Special Teams Cooridnator

Rodney Harper – Offensive Line Coach

Wayne Chalmers – Defensive Line Coach

Bryant Jones – Defensive Back Coach/ running Back Coach

Clarence Lenton – Defensive Back Coach

Clarence Marshall – Athletic Director

DrePicAndre Johnson, a 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NFL and the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

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